Take the Right Shots

Basketball held by one hand

The high school basketball team in Pine City, MN, a little town of 3100 just an hour north of me on I-35, was just profiled in the Wall Street journal and MPR News. The WSJ article was titled “The Basketball Team That Never Takes a Bad Shot.” I just had to read that. Inspired by the movie and book “Moneyball,” the coach of the Pine City high school boys basketball team uses data analytics to evaluate what’s working, what’s not, and to develop a strategy for improvement.

Their analysis has determined which shots are worth taking and which are not. For example, in a recent game 97% of their field goals were either close-in layups or 3-pointers. They don’t bother with anything in between.

Does it work? I just checked their record. They are 10-3 in their conference and 13-7 overall. Not bad!

I haven’t interviewed Kyle Allen, the coach at Pine City, but I’m quite certain that he developed this game plan through a careful analysis of game film that he gets from Krossover, of each player’s individual game, the overall team strengths and weaknesses, and each opponent on the court.

This analysis leads them to informed decisions on which shots to take and the game strategy for each opponent.

Do you know which shots are worth taking? Do you have a game strategy?

You’ve got to do the analysis!

Leaders don’t always have the ability to analyze “game film.” However, you really should arrange to record each and every presentation you make, at least by audio and preferably with video. The next best thing is to ask a trusted colleague to be your camera. Tell him what to watch for and to take notes to share with you after the presentation. If you can’t do that, you can still sit down after the meeting and do your own self-reflection.

Just like the coach at Pine City, you should also do a careful analysis of your personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of your team. What are the “weapons” you have to attack the problems you face? How will you leverage your capabilities in the context of your fellow leaders’ capabilities? Are you working together to win together?

Finally, are you analyzing your “opponent”? The opponent is usually a business problem of some kind — economic, operational, distribution, process engineering, supply chain, manufacturing, etc. What is the challenge and how are you equipped to deal with it? Where are you weak in being able to address that opponent and what is your defense strategy?

With this information, you can take the right shots 97% of the time. That doesn’t mean you’ll make 100% of the shots. It doesn’t mean you’ll have an undefeated “season.”

This kind of strategic analysis will lead you to a winning record, but you need to do the analysis first.

Dr. Scott Yorkovich is a leadership coach and consultant. He works with individuals, small and medium organizations, and ministries. Contact him at ScottYorkovich[at]LeadStrategic.com with your questions.

Photo by chelsea ferenando. Photo available at Unsplash under CC0 license. Image modified for size and space.

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